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Town and the Telephone, The

Published ca. late 1950s

Employee orientation film for telephone company workers explaining structure and corporate values of the Bell System. With excellent footage of communications workers and everyday life, in Technicolor.

Run time 27:21
Producer Murphy (Owen) Productions
Sponsor Bell System


Followed by an outro by and about Southwestern Bell Telephone

Employee orientation film for telco workers explaining structure and corporate values of the Bell System. Followed by a film specific to Southwestern Bell.

NOT ALL SHOTS LOGGED Ð good film, return to

Two men looking at a blueprint in front of a building construction site
Family moving into a new house Ð kids running into front door, mom posing with kids on stoop
Kids at playground
Milkman delivering milk to side door
Older woman sweeping her front steps
Housewife hanging up laundry
Postman delivering mail
Man working on his boat
Woman watering plants in greenhouse
Tracking shot of main shopping street from automobile
CUs People in different walks of life talking on the telephone
CUs hands dialing phones with number MYtown 4-3122
Man climbing telephone pole, seen from below (good)
CUs line of operators at work, busy (good)
Woman supervisor walks behind line of operators
Night switchboard with many fewer operators
CUs faces of operators talking into headsets (good)
Information operator
MCU woman on phone asking for number of WilsonÕs Meat Market
CUs Operator plugging into jacks and filling out billing cards
More CUs of operators
MCU woman calling in emergency car accident
CU operator handling emergency call
LS huge conflagration exterior, explosion
Hurricane footage
Disaster footage (fires, hurricane) shown over faces of operators
Traffic cop standing in white circle on main street directing traffic
VS construction and heavy equipment in operation (bulldozer and operator)
MS steam shovel dumping load of dirt in front of camera
Group of telephone installers getting work assignments from installation supervisor
Installer putting in line, talking to young boy asking question: ÒWhere does this wire go?Ó (EXCELLENT PHONE PHREAK IMAGE)
Installer explains cable has 100 wires in it, connects to phones
Pan from cable box on top of pole down neighborhood street
VS in central office, including switching equipment
CU fingers dialing: phone number is Andrew 9-9945
Installer tells housewife her phone is ready, gives her directory
She thanks installer
Supervisor pulls up in car to check on how installer is doing; installer asks how the other departments fit into the picture
ÒAll of us in the telephone company are organized to do just one thing: to give people good telephone service.Ó
Review of how people get new phone service:
Woman in business office talking to a service representative in the Commercial Department
CU well-dressed woman with hat talking to service rep
VS people talking on phone in kitchen; woman in bed talking on phone; man in chefÕs hat during family barbecue talking on extension phone while family is out on the terrace (patio)
VS telco workers in action:
CU typing out order form
Clerk sitting in front of files assigns line
CU Teletype prints out order
Frame technician hooks up cable pair to frame
Boss: ÒWeÕve all got a lot to learn, Ted.Ó
VS service representatives talking on the phone
Customers paying bills at phone office
CU section of telephone directory listings
Directory sections coming off printing press
CU ÒMYTOWNÓ telephone directory cover
Collectors collecting coins from pay phones
Salesmen pitching phone equipment and Yellow Pages advertising to business customers
MS draftsmen in drafting room working on large drawings
Supervisor comes over to draftsman; they check out details of drawing together
VS laying underground and overhead telephone cable
Cable winding equipment passes by camera (good)
Engineer talking to homebuilder regarding immediate telephone installation when houses are completed.
ÒSome builders donÕt include us in our plans, and then homeowners have to wait for their telephone service to be installed.Ó
CU auger drilling into earth, pulling up dirt (good construction shot)
Setting poles into holes in ground
Stringing cable onto poles
Lineman installing terminals at top of pole
VS clerks and workers in accounting office
Women working on accounting machines, checking ledgers
Woman working on paycheck printer; CU paychecks being printed
CU fingers on IBM card punch (good)
CU IBM cards moving through punch (good)
VS CU IBM card sorter in action (good)
CU machine printing out bills and stuffing envelopes, adding postage (good)
Montage of telephones turning around; Bell vignette in middle, all 1960s-vintage color phones (good)
Low-angle shot of prosperous people walking on Main Street
Smiling cop directing traffic
Lineman on top of pole in suburban area, reeling down along cable (good)
Fingers on adding machines and accounting machines
Meeting of white-collar workers in personnel department
Man opening letter at his mailbox, smoking cigar, smiling
Doctor and nurse looking at workerÕs arm
Legal workers in law library
Public relations department
Ad designers
MS Woman starts 16mm projector (good)
Tour of telephone central office with town residents
Explanation of how AT&T, Western Electric and Bell Laboratories all fit together
Pan up AT&T headquarters in New York City
Map showing different Bell operating companies
Explanation of the operating companies and their relationship to AT&T
Diagram (abstract) of Long Lines connections between cities
Map of the United States with dots representing independent phone companies
VS microwave relay towers of AT&T Long Lines system
Cable-laying chips
TV network transmission control with video monitor
Guard opens iron gate into Western Electric factory
Telephone assembly lines (good)
Reels of cable winding (good)
Workers assembling switching equipment
Boxes moving down conveyor belt
Hands picking up parts from warehouse shelves (good)
Forklift moving telephone booth by camera (good)
Men loading Western Electric cartons into airplane (for emergency use)
Aerial flyby White Alice towers in Alaska (good)
Radomes on DEW Line (good)
LS guided missile taking off, SOF (good)
Sign: Bell Telephone Laboratories
VS Bell Labs buildings
Inside Bell Labs
MS man looking at/through some kind of optical device
Engineer with sliderules and pads at drafting table
Various experiments and testing around new phones
CU fingers on new 10-button touch-tone phone (old design) (good)
Engineers testing new electronic switching systems (good)
CU soldering iron pointing to transistors on circuit board
CU board filled with transistors
Various shots soldering/electronic assembly
Transistorized devices rotating on turntable in front of camera (good) including radio, components, etc.
Older man meets older woman on main shopping street; they shake hands
VS ÒMytownÓ
Looking up telephone pole at lineman working (from below) (good)
Mother and daughter looking into store window; kidÕs face contorts into expression of wonder

[end main film, begin Southwestern Bell outro film]
Executive follows up on first film to explain structure and operation of Southwestern Bell itself. This is for employee orientation.
Finger points to outline map of U.S. divided into Bell regions (with no text labels Ð just colored areas and state outlines)
Outline map of SW Bell territory, with state lines and small dots showing independent telephone companies
Much of the footage in this section repeats from THE TOWN AND THE TELEPHONE
ManÕs hands assemble puzzle of Southwestern states on table
Departments: traffic, plant, commercial.
Other departments: accounting, legal, personnel, public relations.
CU advertising artist sketching out ad



Reviewer: Spuzz - - August 4, 2005
Subject: Hmmm.. The acronym spells TTATT...
Enjoyed this one a lot for some odd reason. Shows the advancement of the telephone all across the country. Has a lot of emphasis on telephone operators which is great, and also about how telephone wires are connected. Really nice slice o' life about the telephone as we know it (circa da 50's), before the breakup of the master jiggernaut, A T & T..
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